December 22 – Creating Accountability

By: Rev. Dr. Velda Love, Lead for Join the Movement Toward Racial Justice Campaign and Minister for Racial Justice, UCC National

For the yoke of their burden and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian…For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders, and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Lover, Sovereign of Peace (from Isaiah 9:2-7).


“Abolition involves dismantling institutions that reproduce and mask harm, but it also demands the more radical work to imagine and to build up practices, vocabularies, and communities that facilitate [freedom]. The work to build up community responses to end…violence; the mobilizations to challenge the indefinite caging of our communities; our collective and daily labor inside and outside of prisons to demand other futures—this is decidedly prophetic work.” – Alice Kim, The Long Term: Resisting Life Sentences, Working Toward Freedom


Movements have always been inspired and required by people who have been exploited and marginalized by their oppressors. Oppressors in every era have felt threatened by grassroots organizing and resistance movements. Oppressors possess insatiable appetites for power over and against those they view as less than and dispensable. Oppressors are obsessed with self-made ideologies of supremacy and use militaristic practices, religious edicts, and unjust laws and policies to eradicate and enslave, intimidate and silence, imprison and displace, God’s beloved people with melanated pigmentations.  Isaiah prophetic vision reminds us in the 21st century that God remains intimately involved in the lives of people forced to exist on the margins by their oppressors around the world.

Prophetic ministry and visioning work is abolition work. Prophets are chosen by God to challenge policies and practices that limit and threaten God’s people. Jesus embodied this prophetic lineage, using his body and the language of liberation as a movement toward justice for all. His abolitionist spirit is expressed stories and his truth-telling almost gets him thrown off a cliff during his inaugural sermon (Luke 4:31). Abolition practices are embedded in the writings of Jesus’s journey with siblings who are also willing to be disrupters of religious traditionalism, imperial edicts, and outdated Christian doctrines.

Advent reminds all of us to create accountability with oppressors for their crimes against God’s human family.  Advent invites us to prepare for Jesus, the great abolition visionary and public theologian.  Advent compels us to commit to being truth-tellers, transforming hearts and minds across all sectors of life around the planet.


Holy One, use all of our preparations this Advent
to teach us how to love you and love our neighbors.
Empower us to speak truth to power and build accountability.
As you come to dwell among us, create in us hearts filled with grace and truth.
Embolden us to be abolition visionaries,
beholders of your Divine image in all we encounter,
so that we might continue the movement toward justice for all.  Amen.


Artwork: “Accountability” by Yohana Junker (discover more at:


"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are [people] who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its mighty waters." – Frederick Douglass

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